Gould was subbing for injured veteran kicker Doug Brien who had been out with a back strain. Although Brien did travel to Cleveland, he remained on the sidelines while the rookie got his first regular season game day experience at the pro level.
As part of a contingent of would be kickers who came to tryouts at Halas Hall on Friday, Gould barely had time to take a deep breath before heading out to his first away game with Chicago. He was signed by the Bears early Saturday and immediately joined the team for the trip to Ohio.
"It was more or less a whirlwind experience," Gould said. "Just early last week I was helping out a friend on a construction project. I really didn't have any NFL aspirations at that particular moment. I was happy doing the construction work and had pretty much put my hopes of being picked up by a team on the back burner."
But when Gould returned to his Pennsylvania home late Thursday, he had an urgent message to call his agent.
"I couldn't imagine what it was about as I didn't think any teams would be looking in October," he said. "But when I heard the Bears might be interested, I threw some clothes in a suitcase and headed to the airport."
One of the first calls Gould made en route was to longtime friend and college teammate Michael Haynes.
"What a plus that was, to know somebody who had been on this team for a while," Gould said. "Then the moment I walked into the locker room on Friday, there was Michael, just grinning at me. I felt as if we were both back in the lineup at Penn State."
Ranked fifth on the all time scorer list at Penn State, Gould had limited success in college. He had 61 FG attempts, but only converted 39. Gould was an undrafted free agent earlier this year. He was picked up by the Patriots but was waived on August 30. Then signed by the Ravens, Gould enjoyed a short stint on the Baltimore practice squad before being cut September 28. Gould concentrated on carpentry until hearing from the Bears.
"It's funny," Gould said, "you just never know where life will lead you. Just a week ago, I never expected to be here, and I certainly never imagined I'd be hitting my first field goal as a pro. Now that it's all happened, I am feeling much more confident, and considerably more relaxed."
For the next week or two, Gould is concentrating on technique and trying to learn players' names.
"Everybody has been so helpful, it's been great so far," Gould said. "I feel fortunate to have landed with the Bears and I plan to do everything I can to justify their confidence in me. I think that one of my first jobs will be to go to Soldier Field and start working there. The winds were tough in Cleveland, but from what I've heard, that was mild compared to conditions by the lake in December."
Whether or not Gould will be lining up with the team later in the season remains to be seen, but for now at least, the newcomer seems quite optimistic about his prospects.
"I'm not here to steal anyone's job. Doug Brien has been great to me and has helped me along so far. Whatever I achieve will be through a lot of hard work. Yes, I'm a competitive guy and I hope eventually to start, but it's pretty soon to make that call. Let's wait a little and see how things shake out during the next week or so."